Choiseul (Solomon Islands)

For other uses, see Choiseul (disambiguation).

Coordinates: 7°00′01″S 156°57′50″E / 7.00028°S 156.96389°E / -7.00028; 156.96389

Choiseul Province
Province

Flag

Coordinates: 7°0′1″S 156°57′50″E / 7.00028°S 156.96389°E / -7.00028; 156.96389

Country  Solomon Islands
Capital Taro Island
Government
 • Premier Jackson Kiloe
Area
 • Total 3,847 km2 (1,485 sq mi)
Population (2009)
 • Total 26,379
 • Density 5.2/km2 (13/sq mi)
Time zone +11 (UTC+11)


The Choiseul Province is one of the nine provinces of the Solomon Islands. It lies between the island of Bougainville (part of Papua New Guinea) and Santa Isabel in the west of the Solomon Islands.

It consists mainly of Choiseul Island with an area of 3,294 square kilometres (1,272 sq mi) and further includes three small surrounding islands: Taro Island at 1.5 square kilometres (0.58 sq mi), Vaghena at 243 square kilometres (94 sq mi) and Rob Roy at 200 square kilometres (77 sq mi). It has a population of 26,379 (2009). The capital is Taro, on Taro Island.

History

Discovery and naming

When the Spanish explorer Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira discovered this island in 1568 he named it San Marcos ('Saint Mark').

It was almost forgotten for 200 years until the French explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville rediscovered it and named it after the Minister of foreign affairs and statesman Choiseul.

Colonial era

Like Buka, Bougainville (both now part of Papua New Guinea's North Solomons Province), Santa Isabel, and Ontong Islands, it has been part of the German Solomon Islands till 1899, when Germany ceded all but the first two islands to become part of the British Solomon Islands, from then on sharing in their political fate until the independence from Britain (as Solomon Islands) on 7 July 1978. During World War II, Choiseul was partly occupied by Japanese military forces whose garrison was raided by US marine forces in October and November 1943.

Independent era

On 25 February 1992, a separate Choiseul province was created by separation from the Western Province.

It has had the following Premieres:

  • 1992–96 Clement Kengava
  • 1996–2000 Simmy Vazarabatu
  • 2000– Jackson Kiloe

Health

The Choiseul Provincial Health Service (CPHS) has 26 health facilities around the province. The main referral provincial hospital is the Taro Hospital. The hospital is based on the Taro Island which is also the island capital of the province. It is the first certified Baby Friendly Hospital in the Solomon Islands in October 2010. And awarded the shield by UNICEF and WHO. The award means that Taro Hospital advocates for exclusive breastfeeding for babies up to six months before introduction of soft diet. The hospital also does not encourage artificial and bottle feeding of babies. It also has links to community groups that support, protect and promote the practice of exclusive breast feeding of babies within Taro Hospital catchment area.

The Choiseul Provincial Health Service is also very active in health promotion and education targeting the rural population. It pays emphasis on preventative activities down to the rural areas with the help of community groups, churches and donor partners.

Taro Hospital offers the following primary health programs, reproductive health on ante natal and post natal care, childhealth on immunization, nutrition and breastfeeding practices, non communicable disease,mental health services and malaria program.

Culture

People

The people consists of several Melanesian tribes including the Gilbertese who live on Vaghena. In the 19th century head hunting and blackbirding were widespread in the Solomon Islands. This led to the extinction of the people on Vaghena in the 1870s. Even in the 20th century the Choiseul islanders were ill-reputed as brutal cannibals so that visitors only came with armed forces to that island. In 1916 there were brutal feuds between the several tribes which were ended by the peace treaty of Sasamungga on August 8, 1921. This event, called Kulabule, is a holiday on Choiseul.

Football

The inhabitants of Choiseul are soccer enthusiasts. They have a team called Lauru Kuvojo, which in 2005 took part at the Solomon-Cup, the national football championship of the Solomon Islands. They have finished their participation already in the preliminary round. In November 2012 the bi-annual Kuvojo Cup was held with a team representing the provincial capital Taro winning against a team from Senga ward. Most of the 14 wards throughout Choiseul sent representative teams to participate at the Kuvojo Cup tournament in both soccer and netball.

Flora and fauna

The flora and fauna are both characteristic of Australia and New Guinea. The biggest mammal is the endangered Dugong, a seacow which occurs in the waters near Rob Roy and Taro Island. The largest reptile is the Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) known from Australia. Known birds are the Sanford's Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus sanfordi), the Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa), and the Eastern Reef Egret (Egretta sacra). Until the beginning of the 20th century, it was the only habitat of the now extinct Choiseul Crested Pigeon (Microgoura meeki). Choiseul is also an important breeding place for the Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). The flora is represented by mangroves and coconuts.

Environmental Issues

Commercial logging continues to operate in Choiseul throughout the entire province. Nickel Mining is planned to commence in 2016 in Katupika and will see over 2,000 hectares (7.7 sq mi) cleared to gain access to nickel deposits over the life of the mining operation. Prospecting for gold has also occurred close to Susuka in north Choiseul.[1] A proposal to establish over 4,000 hectares (15 sq mi) in north Choiseul as oil palm plantation will also have significant environmental impact.

Islands

References

External links

  • Information about Choiseul (engl.)
  • History of Choiseul (engl.)
  • includes flag
  • Exploring Solomons - Choiseul page


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